The No.1 reason why Letting agents fail.

You were the best letting agent in town .. you were the mutts nuts .. you knew everything about lettings, you knew the law better than ARLA itself .. your technical knowledge was awesome and landlords told you every day you were the best .. you were bl**dy good at it, but you were doing it for somebody else.
Then, one day, something happened. It might have been your ungrateful boss not recognising you for a good job done or some upstart shiny suited whippersnapper got the promotion you so richly deserved, or missing your annual target by one property and missing out on hundreds or thousands of bonus, or you were the best performing agent in the area, but still no pay rise for the third year in a row (but you know shiny suited “Hi call me Max” got a pay rise a few months ago because he kicked and screamed or it might have been a feeling that your boss didn’t really appreciate your contribution to the success of their business.
It hits you like a steam train: “Why am I working for this bloke? What the hell am I doing this for? Hell, I know as much about this lettings business as he does. In fact, if it wasn’t for me, he wouldn’t have a flippin’ lettings business. Any prat can run a business and unfortunately, I seem to be working for one.”
The voice inside your head said ..” I want to be my own boss, its time to start my own business”.
.. but before you do, just think for a minute. Alot of the people I see who started their own lettings agency were letting agents themselves that decided they could do a better job and set up themselves. Today I want to talk about the agents who haven’t grown in the last few years or the letting agents who have recently started but found it very difficult to get off the ground.
Those agents have fallen victim to the most terrible assumption that anyone, who is employed as a letting agent can make about going into the lettings business for themselves, an assumption that means you are probably doomed to failure. You see, whilst you understand the technical side of the lettings agent business, ie you are a letting agent and you know your landlord and tenant law, do you understand technical side of being a business person?
Another way of putting it .. Are you a letting agent who is in business or a business person who does lettings? Think about it . they are two different things. I know how to cook, in fact I worked at a restaurant for a few years (I know the technical side) but would never dream of opening my own restaurant. If you are a person who could be best described as the first of the two (ie letting agent who is in business), you ONLY understand a business that does that technical work, but the technician who starts a business fails to see this…
But it gets worse .. I have seen a hell of lot more letting agents (independent and franchise)who grew their lettings agency between 2004 and 2010 (before every Tom, Dick and Harry Estate Agent jumped on the band wagon of lettings in 2009/10 and 11 after the property crash) but have now stopped growing and become stagnant (they are still in business because they aren’t losing but not growing at the 20%/30% rate they were in the later stages of the last decade) …but why?
They aren’t business people, they are business people, their business is not a business but a place to go to work. I see it all the time, they believe that by understanding the technical side of the lettings business (eg the difference between s8 and s21 or every ground of a s8 notice) they are immediately and extremely qualified to run a lettings business that does that kind of work. In fact, rather than being their greatest single asset (ie knowing the technical side of lettings), that knowledge becomes their worst single liability.
The real heartbreak is that when the technician falls prey to the assumption, the business that was supposed to free them from the shackles of working for some one else actually makes thema slave to the business. Being a letting agent isn’t about s8 vs s21 .. it’s about being a business person. But how do you become a business person without going into business? You teach yourself, you take advice, you get coached by a business coach. Hell, the Government will even pay for one (business coach) for you. Don’t fall into the trap most people do when they start their own business, which is the job they knew how to do so well becomes one job he knows how to do plus a dozen others they don’t know how to do at all.
If you are thinking of starting your own lettings agency or estate agency in the next 12 to 24 months, please please please pick up the phone to me and I will tell you what you need to do. I have nothing to sell you because you can hardly go to the boss and ask him/her to pay to go on one my courses (although I have had a couple of people who out of their own pockets have paid to come on my courses so they can put down the foundations for them leaving their current employer and launching in 2016.) There is so much you can do in 2015 before you leave in 2016. By setting the foundations for 2016 in 2015, so you can hit the ground running in 2016. In the meantime, take advice from everyone you know who runs their own successful business, learn from them (they will love you for asking). They will show you how to be a business person (if you are prepared to listen to them) and I will show you how to generate business.
….and if you are an existing letting agent and you really want to grow your lettings agency, and want to know you need to do to get more business, more landlords using you … these couple of 3 minute videos will tell you exact what you need to do and if you want any help doing it, drop me an email to .. many agents love the technique but neither the time or inclination to do it .. so pay me to do it. Is the technique any good? No of course not .. it’s ‘effin brilliant! Read over 40 letting agents testimonials here
… or you can carry on with the same old same old marketing techniques .. like ‘landlords wanted’, ‘tenants waiting’ and ‘50% off fees’ .. which we all know don’t work but because you don’t think like a business person who does lettings, but think like a letting agent in business .. that is what you have always done so will carry on doing it regardless .. your choice.

Christopher Watkin

I teach, guide, support, mentor, consult, counsel, partner many hundreds of UK Estate and Letting Agents in their quest to grow their estate and lettings agencies business. Old school techniques of touting, landlords wanted leaflets, ring us for a free valuation, we have sold this in your street leaflets don't work anymore. There are too many competitor agents .. meaning cheap fees are epidemic, overvaluing is almost a norm to get the stock and don’t even mention about the online/hybrid threat. So a few years ago, I set about looking around the UK and spotted that certain agents (not many mind you) in certain towns were still seen as the ‘go to person on property’, the person the newspaper editor rang up every week for a comment and I looked at what they did and they were doing some thing quite remarkable…. Only one thing but they were doing it so well .. and reaping the reward in terms of decent listings and decent fees, happy staff, decent sales pipeline and exchange income, managed lettings portfolios in the many hundreds .. but more importantly, they really enjoyed the job… they enjoyed getting up in the morning and people looked up to them Over 400 agents around the UK are on a mission to change the way our Estate and Lettings agency profession is perceived and looked upon, doing it town by town, city by city. I guide these 400 agents, teach them, mentor them and support them to be seen in a different light, to be seen as the ‘go to person for property’, actually be the ‘local property expert’ and prove it. Christopher Watkin 07950 147 572

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